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Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ in Athens November 8, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Stage & Theater.
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‘Beauty and the Beast’ performances at the Badminton Theater in Athens run to November 25.

One of the most touching fairy tales ever written and one of the most popular musicals as well, “Beauty and the Beast” opened in Athens last night.

Adam Productions has brought the famous story about the power of love to the stage of the Badminton Theater, where it is being performed until November 25. The musical, which features lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice and music by Alan Menken, has become the much-loved favorite of millions of people all over the world and is being shown in Greece for the first time.

The story is about a handsome prince who is much too involved with himself. When he has the chance to help out an old lady, he chooses instead to be mean to her, but she turns out to be a beautiful woman with magical powers who curses him. Her spell makes him very ugly and engulfs him in loneliness. His sole companion, left to him by the witch, is a magical mirror through which he can view the world. The only way to break the spell he is under is to learn to love other people and to be loved for who he really is.

The first Disney musical production to visit Greece, the play has been a huge-box office hit all over the world, staged in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Tokyo and London, as well as being the recipient of nine Tony Awards. After a 13-year run, the Broadway production closed down and it is the British production, currently touring the world, that has come to the stage of the Badminton Theater.

The colorful spectacle, full of imagination, humor, music and dance, features not just the main characters but also different kinds of homeware that come alive and dance on stage, such as clocks, teapots and candles.

The production stars Matthew Cammelle in the role of the Beast. Cammelle’s career includes a run as the Phantom in another highly popular musical, “The Phantom of the Opera,” as well as other West End productions and tours. The Glasgow-born Ashley Oliver, who plays Beauty, recently played the part of Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz” at the Epsom Playhouse.

Badminton Theater, Goudi Military Park, Athens, tel 211 1086024. Tickets from the theater box office (11 a.m. – 7 p.m.) and Virgin Megastores. Credit card holders can make phone bookings on 210 8840600 as well as online at www.ticketnet.gr

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Olympiakos manages draw November 8, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Football.
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Piraeus club survives Real pressure; hopes for Champions League’s next stage sustained

A fine performance by Olympiakos goalkeeper Antonis Nikopolidis yesterday denied Real Madrid the win that would have effectively put them through to the knockout stage of this season’s Champions League. The 36-year-old produced three top-class saves to thwart Robinho and Wesley Sneijder twice to hold Real to a 0-0 draw. Real also struck the woodwork twice with Mahamadou Diarra hitting the post and Ruud van Nistelrooy the bar.

Real still tops Group C with eight points while Olympiakos, which now has five points along with Lazio, also retains realistic hopes of reaching the next phase. The top two advance.

“From now on we will start calculating. This point is very important for our future in the group. The remaining two encounters are very important,” said Olympiakos coach Takis Lemonis, whose team is hosted by Lazio in the next round. “I am happy with the way we got a point in spite of all the injuries and suspensions.” Olympiakos General Manager Petros Kokkalis told reporters, “We deserved a better result in Madrid and they deserved a better result here.”

In spite of the lack of goals, there was plenty of excitement as both teams adopted the same cavalier spirit that lit up Real’s 4-2 win in the corresponding game in Madrid. Real dominated the opening 45 minutes. Robinho, who scored twice in Madrid, had the first chance in the 14th minute when he got behind the defense. Rather than square the ball to van Nistelrooy, however, he took a shot himself, bringing a good save out of Nikopolidis. Four minutes later the Greece goalkeeper stuck out a leg to deny Sneijder, then Diarra’s flick from a corner hit the post and van Nistelrooy’s lob over Nikopolidis came back off the bar. Nikopolidis had to react sharply again in the second half to deny Sneijder a second time while Lomana LuaLua went close twice at the other end.

Tonight, three of Greece’s five UEFA Cup group-stage qualifiers play their second-round matches. Larissa, a 3-1 loser at Everton in its opening game, hosts Zenit in a Group A game. Panathinaikos, which began its quest with a 3-0 win in Athens against Aberdeen, is greeted by Copenhagen in Group B. Aris, in Group F, plays its first game at home against Red Star Belgrade. The encounter pits Aris coach Dusan Bajevic against his previous club.

Marion Jones’s medals only to ‘clean’ athletes November 8, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Olympic Games.
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Only “clean” athletes will be upgraded to get the Olympic medals relinquished by Marion Jones after her confession of doping, International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge said yesterday.

Rogge’s statement means that Greek sprinter Katerina Thanou, at the center of her own drug scandal on the eve of the 2004 Athens Games, may not receive the 100-meter gold medal that Jones won at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

“This is not going to be an automatic upgrade… Every potential upgraded athlete will be scrutinized on his or her merits,” Rogge said in a conference call. “We want to upgrade athletes if we are absolutely sure that they are clean. Every case will be examined.”

The IOC stores Olympic drug samples for eight years. Rogge said the IOC always carries out doping tests on the fourth- and fifth-place finishers, as well as on the three medal winners and three others at random.

Alfa-Beta profit up November 8, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy.
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Alfa-Beta Vassilopoulos, the Greek supermarket chain controlled by Belgium’s Delhaize Group, said third-quarter profits rose 68 percent as sales increased.

The shares rose the most in almost three months. Net income increased, aided by a lower tax rate, to 8.9 million euros from 5.3 million euros a year earlier, according a statement today to the Athens bourse. Sales increased 12 percent to 279 million euros. The company plans to have 162 points of sale by the end of the year, compared with 154 at the end of September.

Refiners’ mixed results November 8, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy.
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Hellenic Petroleum, Greece’s largest oil refiner, said yesterday nine-month net profit rose 3 percent, above market forecasts, boosted by foreign exchange gains.

Net profits came in at 226 million euros ($330.6 million), while sales fell 3 percent to 5.9 billion euros. By contrast, rival Motor Oil Hellas reported a drop in nine-month profits after refining margins narrowed and sales from trading fell. Net income fell to 119.2 million euros ($175 million) from 137.2 million euros a year earlier.

Building is shrinking November 8, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Greece, Business & Economy.
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Construction activity continued its decline for the seventh month in a row in August, reflecting the general picture of the domestic housing market.

It posted a 13.5 percent decline from August 2006. The high prices of newly built houses have brought about a considerable decline in demand for them, so the annual decline of 4.2 percent in construction permits issued over the first eight months of 2007 was no surprise. Property market professionals say the decline will continue at an even higher pace, although they stress that the sector is not at all frozen and activity in this period appears satisfactory.

The housing market is showing signs of weariness, dominated by the oversupply of ready products. Foreign firms note in their reports that during 2007 there are expected to be just 40,000 new houses constructed, down from 125,000 in 2006, a decline of 68 percent. That deficit has not harmed the activity of construction firms at present, which are proceeding at a slower pace with the completion of buildings so as to manage the slower absorption of their product.

However, over the next six to 12 months this slowdown is likely to affect the growth rate of the economy, given that the construction sector feeds more than 40 professions. According to the Greek Constructors’ Association President Dimitris Kapsimalis: “There are many permits being issued and, given the picture of the market, no new constructions are required. This shrinking will affect the economy. As for the tax measures being studied, they can help the market if they are voted in immediately. The problem lies in people’s income, as builders cannot reduce their rates any further given the rising cost of materials and the expensive cost of land.”

Public works funding plan gets approval November 8, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy, Environment.
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The Environment and Public Works Ministry announced yesterday the approval of its proposals for the European Union subsidy period of 2007-2013.

The program totals 4.3 billion euros and includes 11 fields of action and major project proposals. Minister Giorgos Souflias said that it had been approved by the EU without any amendments. This opens the way for the projects’ tenders, with the relevant documents already submitted to the Ministry.

The program for the 2007-2013 period is split in to two groups of projects: The first, to receive money from the EU’s Cohesion Fund, includes activity related to the protection of the atmosphere, public transport, climate change and renewable energy sources, protection and management of water resources, prevention and handling of environmental risks and the management of solid waste.

The second, to be funded by the National Strategic Reference Framework (ESPA), contains projects to protect the atmosphere and deal with climate change, management of water resources, prevention and handling of environmental risks, protection of the natural environment and biodiversity and the strengthening of institutions and mechanisms.

Projects include the Thessaloniki metro, the sewage network at Markopoulo in Attica, the creation of new landfills and recycling centers across the country, the inclusion of 24 areas, such as Mount Olympus, the island of Tilos and the Prespes Lakes, in protected zones, and the creation of stations to measure pollution.